We’re all obsessed with buying the prime cuts of meat and don’t seem to worry what happens to the rest of it. Whether it’s beef, lamb or pork, the cuts on offer appear to be the same wherever you go. Cooks and food writers like me have done the lamb shank to death, and pork belly is now the cut to have at a dinner party because most restaurants have it on their menus. But what about dishing up
a good old mixed grill with a difference?
It makes use of several cuts of the animal and, if you’re the kind of foodie who likes to buy a quarter of a rare-breed pig from someone such as Richard Vaughan at Huntsham Farm in Ross-on-Wye (www.huntsham.com), who has fantastic Middle Whites, then this is the dish for you. Mr Vaughan will even supply you with some Middle White sausages to go with it. You’ll be surprised how much meat and how many different dishes you can get from the pig. It’s the animal from which most countries get both economical and luxury cuts, and, of course, charcuterie. But Britain doesn’t have a tradition of salami and cured products, apart from regional black puddings, hams and bangers. Even brawn and Bath chaps are rarities these days.
Mixed grill of Middle White pork with apple sauce
This dish, or at least its presentation, was inspired by a trip to my favourite cook shop in Paris, E. Dehillerin in the rue Coquillière. They always have a great selection of brochettes (skewers to us), with neat little sculptures of animals, poultry and fish on the ends. I nearly bought their whole stock last time, as they’re not the kind of thing you see over here. Last year, I used crab apples for the sauce, but it’s a bit early, so normal cooking apples, such as Bramleys, will do just fine.
200g–250g pork-loin fillet or tenderloin
200g–250 shoulder or neck fillet of pork
150g minced pork with 20% fat
100g black pudding
2 pigs’ kidneys, trimmed
150g pig’s liver
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A few sprigs of rosemary Vegetable oil for brushing
For the apple sauce
300g–350g Bramley or crab apples
1tbsp caster sugar (plus more if required) A couple of knobs of butter
First make the crab-apple sauce. Remove all of the stalks from the apples and give them a good wash. Put them into a heavy bottomed saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar, cover with a lid and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring every so often until the apples are soft. If there’s a lot of liquid, just remove the lid and boil them rapidly until it dries out, making sure that it doesn’t splatter it’s seriously hot.
Transfer the sauce to a bowl and leave it to cool until required. Chop the black pudding finely, then mix it with the minced pork and season well. Mould into 4 flat patties and place in the fridge.
Cut the shoulder meat and loin into four similar-sized chunks, and do the same with the kidneys and liver. Heat a ribbed griddle or heavy-based frying pan and lightly oil it.
Season all of the meat and cook it for about 3–4 minutes on each side (the liver and kidney will need less cooking), keeping it slightly pink. Heat the butter and rosemary in a sepa-rate pan until they’re foaming, and then remove from the heat.
Thread the pieces of meat on to decorative skewers or simply serve them on warm plates with the butter spooned over. Serve the crab-apple sauce, at room temperature, separately. Mark Hix’s ‘British Seasonal Food’ is available from Quadrille at £25 (www.restaurantsetcltd.co.uk)